Pocan Opposes New Fast Track Legislation
WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02) today released a statement opposing new legislation that would reinstitute Trade Promotion Authority, better known as “fast track” negotiation authority. If passed, fast track would speed up the trade agreement approval process on major trade deals, such as the Trans Pacific Partnership currently being negotiated in secret by the United States and 11 other nations, by delegating wide swaths of Congress’s Constitutional power to oversee international trade to the executive branch. If implemented, Congress would vote to accept or reject a trade agreement, but would be unable to amend the text. The bill was introduced today by House Ways & Means Chairman Dave Camp and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch.
This summer, Pocan led a letter signed by 36 freshman lawmakers calling for increased transparency from the administration on TPP and urging Congress not to give up its constitutional authority to oversee foreign trade agreements.
“Given how previous trade agreements have devastated local manufacturing sectors and shipped American jobs overseas, it would be unwise for Congress to ram through new trade deals without offering proper oversight,” Pocan said. “Massive trade deals—such as the Trans Pacific Partnership—now affect everything from America’s economy, to consumer and food safety, to labor standards and our environment. Blindly approving or disapproving agreements that have largely been negotiated in secret would represent a derelict of duty for Congress. If there is nothing to hide in these agreements, we should be allowed to debate and amend these deals in the open. I am committed to doing all that I can to prevent the inappropriate use of fast track in Congress.”